Archive for November, 2016

A Flood of Years

Posted: November 20, 2016 in Fault Line, urban poems

This morning I woke up to the sound of our river steam-training through the town. It was the first winter storm and overnight Devon bore the brunt. Here’s a poem from my collection Fault Line I wrote about an earlier flood.

river-crop-2

Flood river is wide as a motorway.
Lying in bed I hear it roar through town.
And later from a top floor window I see how serious
Exmoor has been in ridding itself of a thousand
rivulets and streams decanting themselves off hills.

A sheet of mud-brown satin rolls over the weir.
Was it only last week that kids played here
on this moss-covered dam?
Ankle-deep, screaming, shouting.
Now it is a different creature, a snarling beast.

Nothing gets in its way.

Riverbanks are scourged, broken bones
of trees tossed and hurried downstream.
This power draws us to its side,
gaping at the volume and speed
of this highway to the sea.

We are transfixed.
Reading into it
the chaos of our own lives,
watching years stream by.

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Memory Bank

Posted: November 14, 2016 in urban poems

On Friday I gave a one-man poetry show for an hour at the Taunton Literary Festival, having been booked earlier this year. Initially it was a daunting prospect, but it turned out to be a lot of fun before a wonderful audience. Here is one of the poems I read from my collection Fault Line.

The first time I had amnesia
was in Hong Kong.
I was five. I don’t remember.
The second was in Cyprus.
I was ten and found
wandering Limassol’s streets. So

I stand in awe of those who recall
childhood days, opening up a tap
in their hippocampus and pouring out
places, friends’ names, events
even conversations. My memories
are absent. They stand on the other side

of then and now, a canyon between
with no linking bridge. Not even ghosts
teetering on the far side’s edge.
The only triggers are mother’s photo albums,
the past caught in a zoetrope flicker
of black pages and her immaculate white writing.

 

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Reading at Friday’s Taunton Literary Festival event